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Either, 1) one of two, the one or the other: “to leave the master loveless, or kill the gallant knight: to put in practice e., alas, it was a spite,” Pilgr. 217. “here is neither cheer nor welcome: we would fain have e.” Err. III, 1, 66. “if e. of you know any impediment,” Ado IV, 1, 12. Merch. I, 2, 56. As IV, 1, 5. Shr. I, 1, 52. All's I, 2, 15. Tw. III, 2, 43. Troil. II, 1, 110. Lr. I, 1, 7. Ant. II, 1, 16 etc.
2) each of two, both: “of --'s colour was the other queen,” Lucr. 66. “the sovereignty of e. being so great,” Lucr. 66 “the face of e. ciphered --'s heart,” Lucr. 66 Lucr. 66 Sonn. 44, 14. Phoen. 36. Phoen. 36 Gentl. V, 4, 116. LLL V, 2, 459. Shr. I, 2, 181. Wint. II, 3, 38. R2 III, 4, 11. R3 II, 1, 15. Before a subst.: “at e. end,” Err. I, 1, 86. “on e. hand,” H6A IV, 2, 23. “on e. side,” H4A V, 1, 99. R3 V, 3, 299. V, 5, 12. Cor. V, 3, 138. Cymb. V, 3, 81. “with e. part's agreement,” Shr. IV, 4, 50. “the hum of e. army,” H5 IV Chor. H5 IV Chor. “till the prince came, who parted e. part,” Rom. I, 1, 122. == each, used of more than two: “in him a plenitude of subtle matter, applied to cautels, all strange forms receives, of burning blushes, or of weeping water, or swooning paleness; and he takes and leaves, in --'s aptness, as it best deceives,” Compl. 306.
3) each other: each (viz day and night) “though enemies to --'s reign, do in consent shake hands to torture me,” Sonn. 28, 5. “they are both in --'s powers,” Tp. I, 2, 450. “treason and murder ever kept together, as two yoke-devils sworn to --'s purpose,” H5 II, 2, 106. “unfold the imagined happiness that both receive in e. by this dear encounter,” Rom. II, 6, 29.
4) e. which == whichsoever: “my virtue or my plague, be it e. which,” Hml. IV, 7, 13.
5) e. -- or, a) == whether -- or, both -- and: “but what needs e. your mum or her budget?” Wiv. V, 2, 9. “future evils, e. now or by remissness new conceived,” Meas. II, 2, 96. “O perilous mouths, that bear in them one and the self-same tongue, e. of condemnation or approof,” II, 4, 174. “e. death or life shall thereby be the sweeter,” III, 1, 5. “e. at flesh or fish, a table full of welcome makes scarce one dainty dish,” Err. III, 1, 22. “it is certain that e. wise bearing or ignorant carriage is caught,” H4B V, 1, 84. “I shall offend, e. to detain or give it,” Lr. I, 2, 42. Of more than two things: “there is divinity in odd numbers, e. in nativity, chance or death,” Wiv. V, 1, 4.
b) disjunctively, granting only one of two alternatives (in senses a & b sometimes a monosyllable: Sonn. 70, 10. Mids. II, 1, 32. II, 2, 156. H4B IV, 1, 108. H6C II, 1, 94. R3 I, 2, 64. Caes. IV, 1, 23. Oth. IV, 2, 153): “till e. gorge be stuffed, or prey be gone,” Ven. 58. Sonn. 47, 9. 70, 10. Wiv. II, 1, 197. Meas. II, 2, 150. II, 4, 74. II, 4, 74 IV, 2, 137. V, 31. Err. III, 1, 33. IV, 1, 56. IV, 1, 56 Ado II, 1, 225. V, 2, 58. Mids I, 1, 43. Mids I, 1, 43 Mids I, 1, 43 Merch. II, 1, 39. As I, 1, 139. II, 6, 7. III, 2, 212. H6A I, 1, 163. I, 5, 27. III, 3, 58. H6C I, 1, 11. II, 3, 31. IV, 4, 8. R3 IV, 4, 151 etc. In a negative sentence: “it not appears to me e. from the king or in the present time that you should have an inch of any ground to build a grief on,” H4B IV, 1, 108. “yet is't not probable to come alone, e. he so undertaking, or they so suffering,” Cymb. IV, 2, 142. Of more than two things: “e. this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking,” Meas. III, 2, 149.
Why either == whether: “why e. were you ignorant to see't, or, seeing it, of such childish friendliness, to yield your voices?” Cor. II, 3, 182.
Superfluous after or: “wilt thou set thy foot o' my neck? Or o' mine e.?” Tw. II, 5, 206.
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